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Are truck speed limiters the best regulators can offer?

There are a lot of different ideas floating around about how to reduce the number of accidents involving cars and semitrailer trucks. Considering the number of serious or fatal injuries that usually result, it's easy to understand why.

The issue has received a lot of attention over the past year. And interest in the issue has only increased in recent months and weeks.

As we noted back in May, the federal Department of Transportation announced that a major agenda item for this year is to issue a rule requiring speed governors on all large trucks.

The concern, officials say, is that data indicates that trucks on the nation's freeways are being driven at speeds far in excess of what their tires are designed to handle. In Texas, some stretches allow speeds of up to 80 mph. Tire failure is a big factor in a lot of accidents, and excessive speed is cited as a contributing factor in about 18 percent of fatal crashes involving big rigs.

And then there is the huge transportation funding bill that is still awaiting congressional action yet this year. Critics say the measure known as the DRIVE Act comes up short on requirements for cars and trucks that would improve safety on the nation's roads.

At the same time, the safety experts at the National Transportation Safety Board have used a particularly tragic truck-bus crash from last year to reemphasize their recommendations for particular changes.

The wreck occurred in April 2014 in Northern California. A FedEx tractor-trailer veered across the median strip of a freeway and crashed head-on into a coach bus carrying young people bound for a college orientation session. The fiery result left 10 people dead, including the drivers of the two vehicles. Another 39 passengers on the bus suffered a variety of injuries and, of course, emotional trauma.

NTSB officials studied that accident for 15 months and in the end still couldn't say exactly what happened. But they say that might not have been the case if federal regulators had adopted a long-standing recommendation to require event data recorders on buses and trucks. They say other recommendations for improving safety on buses would have improved the chances of passengers walking away from the crash.

So the question we find ourselves asking is whether requiring governors on trucks is the best regulators can do. What do you think?

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